Tschaikovsky - 1812 Overture, op. 49

Tchaikovsky's Overture 1812 expresses Russia's nationalist spirit for the Russians' magnificent victory over Napoleon. In 1880, when he was writing the charming Serenade for Strings, Tchaikovsky undertook to compose a "ceremonial introduction" for an exhibition of industrial art in Moscow. As a theme of his introduction he chose Napoleon's Russia Campaign, which ended with the great victory of the Russian Army. At first the composer intended the introduction to be for outdoor performance and felt that it should be "very loud and noisy". Since then the introduction has become his most famous and most popular concert work. The "1812 Overture" is in fact an introduction to a concerto, in other words is a stand-alone work of orchestral music and not an introduction to opera or a more extensive work. The play describes the invasion of Russia by Napoleon's troops in 1812 and their retreat and defeat in the winter of the same year. Despite

Carl Maria von Weber - Clarinet Concerto No.2 in E-flat major, Op.74


The graceful and lyrical music, which brings to mind the clean atmosphere and the serenity of the countryside, characterizes many orchestral works composed by Carl Maria von Weber during his short life.

 

Just as Mozart and Brahms composed works for clarinet for a specific performer, so Carl Maria von Weber, again, was inspired by the performance of Heinrich Joseph Baermann, the first clarinetist of the Munich Court orchestra.

In 1811, the King of Bavaria, Maximilian the First, ordered Weber to compose two concertos for Baermann, which he would perform in Munich. After the premiere of this concerto, Weber wrote in his diary about "the tumultuous applause caused by Baermann's divine performance."

This concerto follows the usual classical form, although in this interpretation there are no cadences - extensive sections only for solo instruments.

Movements:

Ι. Allegro

The inaugural Allegro begins in a heroic style with the participation of the entire orchestra. The second theme, presented by the violins, is a sweeter melody. It is worthy of attention the original phrase of the solo clarinet, which includes the first of many difficult passages along the spectrum of the instrument.

The solo clarinet is joined with the orchestra in a general rework of the introductory theme, before leading to the main section. A rapid ascending scale for the soloist, performed in staccato (each note isolated), leads the melody to its recapitulation as well as a powerful finale.

ΙΙ. Romanza: Andante 

In the melancholic Andante the soloist appears after two meters of pitsikato cellos. Strings and woodwinds alternate, illuminating the music. Then follows a "Recitativo ad lib.", where the solo clarinet and the orchestra adopt the free style of a vocal recitativo accompanied by chords - reminiscent of Weber's operas.

ΙΙΙ. Alla Polacca

The concluding Alla Polacca, a Polonaise, is brilliant and exuberant. A more serene episode ensues, but the pace soon speeds up again with many exciting solo sections. Three long trembling notes, followed by more passages from high tonalities to low and vice versa, complete the concerto.


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